The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) conducted its Basic Course on Science Diplomacy from 29 to 30 October 2020. The Course was designed to introduce the interrelatedness of science and diplomacy, their unique roles in advancing Philippine national priorities, and achieving global scientific development efforts.

Assistant Secretary Jesusa Susana V. Paez (left) of DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations and Dr. Leah J. Buendia (right), Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in separate sessions, discussed the state and context of science diplomacy in the Philippines.
Minister and Consul Maria Elena Cristina D. Maningat (left) of Geneva PM shared her expertise on Global Public Health Diplomacy.
A special session entitled “Science & Diplomacy: Global Perspective” was given by Engineer Josephine Santiago-Bond (right) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Thirty-eight (38) DFA personnel attended the Course, which was conducted through synchronous sessions via Zoom. Fourteen (14) of them were from Foreign Service Posts, 13 were from the Consular Offices (COs), and the remaining 13 from the DFA Home Office. 

Aside from the lecture-discussions, the Course had virtual panel discussions involving diplomats and scientists to discuss how they collaborate: their specific roles and contributions in advancing Philippine interest particularly in the field of: (1) Climate Crisis, (2) Space Science, and (3) Nuclear Energy. Through this methodology, the participants were given first-hand perspectives from the diplomats and scientists themselves.

For the Climate Crisis component, Mr. Christopher P. Castillo (left) of DFA-Office of United Nations and International Organizations (UNIO) and Dr. Carlos Primo C. David (right) of the Climate Change Commission served as panel presenters.
For the Space Science component, Atty. Melissa Anne M. Telan of DFA-Office of Treaties and Legal Affairs (OTLA) and Dr. Rogel Mari D. Sese of DOST’s Philippine Space Science Education Program served as panel presenters.
For the Nuclear Energy component, Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad (left) was joined by Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla (upper right), the Director of DOST – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), and Executive Director Azela G. Arumpac-Marte who served as the moderator of the session.

Philippine Ambassador to Vienna, Hon. Maria Cleofe R. Natividad, remarked on the need to build strong partnership and collaboration between diplomats and scientists to advance Philippine interests. The Ambassador also emphasized the significance of Science Diplomacy, as she noted “it (Science Diplomacy) is more relevant than ever as it is the key to not only meeting our Sustainable Development Goals including our Ambisyon Natin 2040, but also ensuring economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”